“Creation Science” isn’t.

Readers of this blog will have noticed that I strongly oppose the inappropriate use of science to further an atheist agenda (see here and here, for example). But this is not the only place that I perceive science being press-ganged to support a pre-conceived and unscientific notion: the so-called “Creation Science” movement uses snatches of whacky ideas dressed up in pseudo-scientific garb to promote a Young-Earth Creationism framework of biblical interpretation. This is totally opposed to honest scientific inquiry and also seems to me to betray a startling lack of confidence in their own doctrine.

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First, some background.

Young-Earth Creationism (YEC) can be broadly described as the view that God created the heavens and Earth in six literal days of 24 hours each, and this all happened about 6000 years ago. The YEC position is ultimately based on a ultra-literalist adherence to the creation account in the opening chapter of Genesis (the same ultra-literalism is generally not extended to the rest of the Bible, but more about that another time).

This ultra-literalist approach is not without difficulties. The Hebrew word used for “day” in Genesis 1 is yom, as in yom ehad (day one). In the King James Version, this was translated into English as “the first day”, but the definite article is not strictly accurate: in Hebrew, such a specific statement would be expressed by hayyom harison rather than yom ehad (the “ha-” indicating the definite article). The Hebrew syntax in Genesis 1 is unique within the Old Testament, so it’s not clear that the KJV translation should be read with this level of literalistic adherence.

The rhythmic repetitions of the creation poem are wonderful in underlining the structure and deliberate intent of God’s creation, and guide the reader in understanding the text. Here, as in other parts of the Bible, I believe that the readability of the passage is greatly improved by phrasing events from the perspective of human experience. Read Ecclesiastes 1:5, and then consider whether “the rotation of the Earth makes the sun appear to rise and set” would be more accessible and powerful than “The sun rises and the sun sets”.

Anyway, enough of the hermeneutical difficulties: suffice it to say that the YEC position is that the Bible should be read with complete literalism, as it is the highest authority and impervious to dispute from science or philosophy.

That’s fine. I don’t entirely endorse the YEC position, but I can respect it. What bothers me is when science gets perverted to support a YEC agenda.

See, the fundamental basis of honest scientific inquiry is that you follow the evidence where it leads. As soon as you decide beforehand where you will end up, you have strayed from the light. For the prominent YEC oraganisation Answers in Genesis, radiometric dating must be flawed because it says that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, so AiG suggest that radiactive decay must have been massively accelerated in the first week of creation. Likewise, the universe emerged out of a “white hole”, which is why we can see stars millions of light years away (even though the universe is under 10 000 years old).

But none of these theories result from following the evidence.

Physics tells us that the Sun is a second-generation star. (Basically, there’s no way to account for any element heavier than iron without going through a supernova, so the heavy elements in our solar system had to come from an earlier star which blew). It also tells us that this process takes billions of years. But these theories don’t exist in isolation: the fundamental models of particle physics and chemistry are all intertwined, and are independently relied upon for a host of other scientific theories. All our theories about atoms, elements, fundamental particles and their interactions is bound up with our understanding of the strong and weak atomic forces and electromagnetic attraction, and these are the same forces that dictate element formation in supernovae. You can’t just pick and choose with this stuff.

If you want to deny science entirely and adhere to a blind literalism, that’s fine. I think it’s imprudent and intellectually limiting, but that’s your choice. But be consistent. Don’t start off denying the validity of science and then try and use science to support your worldview.

Richard Dawkins and Ken Ham have something in common: they both start their scientific inquiry at the wrong end. Both take a faith-based stance and then cherry-pick whatever science they think will support their pre-determined conclusion. And they both end up doing a disservice to science, as well as to their respective creeds.

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Related posts:

Hypothetically speaking

Two evolutionists walk into a bar…

Conflict myths: Bishop Ussher

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37 thoughts on ““Creation Science” isn’t.

  1. I really enjoyed your post–I usually do. Let’s set aside some of the theological issues at play in this debate and there are some fairly serious ones–even hermeneutical ones. Here is my actual question–What do you say to someone like me? Even though science interests me on a recreational level, especially ID, I certainly am not extremely well-versed or learned in it. The by-product of that is being easily convinced. Ken Ham, Steven Meyer and Richard Dawkins arguments can all sound pretty fool-proof to me sometimes. I have great respect for some of the people arguing in each of those areas–but my respect for them does not equate to proper understanding of the evidence. (I am setting aside obvious philosophical issues here for the sake of argument–people like Dawkins for instance). I do not consider myself to be rationally or intellectually lazy–but divorcing Scriptual “truth” from scientific “evidence” can be both difficult and potentially dangerous.

    • It’s a good question, Jeff, and that’s exactly why I can understand the YEC perspective of, “I’m going to start with what I know is reliable (the Bible) and I will tend to accept things that fit within that framework.”

      I guess my underlying point is that communicators of science have a responsibility to adhere to high standards of scientific integrity. Science is by necessity the domain of specialists: not everyone has the aptitude or the inclination to study sciences, and even within the discipline, the time requirements to become well-versed in a particular field will generally preclude you from expertise in others (unless your surname is Newton, Goethe or Feynman).

      Science is not unique in this respect: I am not a specialist in ancient languages, so for the discussion of Hebrew in the post I was relying on the scholarship of others (and I hope that my reliance was justified)!

      Ultimately, I believe that the use of pseudo-science in any field is intellectually dishonest, but the fault lies with the practitioners. I do not hold the visitors to the Creation museum responsible for what they find themselves convinced of when they leave: the responsibility lies with the teacher and not the student.

  2. How can anyone who values intellectual honesty write I don’t entirely endorse the YEC position, but I can respect it. This means you partly endorse what you entirely respect. And that’s accommodationism to a tee: intellectual dishonesty.

    From R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention with more than 16 million members comes this unequivocal statement:

    For evangelicals, the direct lesson is that any accommodation to evolutionary theory comes with huge and inescapable theological costs. There is no way to affirm an historical Adam while holding to any mainstream model of evolution, and there is no way to affirm the Gospel without an historical Adam.

    The real meaning of evolution’s central doctrines runs directly counter to the central doctrines of Christianity. Accommodation with evolution is a disastrous doctrinal strategy.

    And this identifies clearly why christian theology and science are in direct conflict: the latter undermines the the central doctrines of the former.

    You cannot have it both ways, Sentinel: either respect methodological naturalism and the results it produces or do not. This ambivalent accommodationism of respecting in whole what you agree with in part is intellectually dishonest. But sniping at Dawkins as if he were a reporesentative of just another kind of religious belief merely makes you look petulant.

    • As is frequently the case, you seem to be reading more into what I wrote than is actually there. What I said is that I respect the YEC position, not the pseudo-science which is used to lend it support.

      I can respect a person who says, “I don’t really understand the scientific evidence, but I am confident in my faith in God. So I will regard the Bible as my primary source for knowledge, as I know that God is reliable.” I don’t entirely endorse this because I have hermeneutical issues with the Biblical interpretation that follows on from it.

      I do not respect the hit-and-miss adherence to methodological naturalism, or the perversion of scientific theory to further an agenda for which the theory is inappropriate. Denying the fundamental assumptions of radiometric dating but then still trying to “prove” that the Earth is 6000 years old using that same radiometric dating is intellectually dishonest. Taking evolutionary theory and applying it to biogenesis and psychology is also intellectually dishonest. In both cases, the endpoint is pre-ordained, and the individual is determined to get there no matter where the evidence leads. That’s not science.

      tildeb :

      And this identifies clearly why christian theology and science are in direct conflict: the latter undermines the the central doctrines of the former.

      Incidentally, you’re making the unfortunate mistake of conflating the whole with the off-shoot. Science in no way undermines “the central doctrines” of Christianity. For that matter, a great deal of what Mohler talks about is not central Christian doctrine (abstaining from alcohol, for instance, is very much a theological non-issue).

      The press makes a big deal of it, but the YEC / Old-Earth creationism / Theistic evolution discussion does not involve the central doctrines of Christianity.

      • First you respect a particular position called Young Earth Creationism that badly misrepresents the scientific evidence we have about the age of the earth when what you mean is you respect that person if he or she has a faith in god and uses the bible as a primary source for knowledge even if that position is flat out wrong in scientific terms? That’s “fine” you say.

        But you do not respect those who adhere to what you call a ‘hit-and-miss’ method upon which our science is based. For respecting that method, well… not so much, eh? And the reason is that you know where you are going to end up, which according to you is not following the evidence. That’s not worth respect, I’ll grant you, but isn’t that EXACTLY what you respect about the YEC position?

      • You’re still missing the distinction between a theological position and a scientific one.

        You seem to care passionately about scientific evidence, and I can respect that. I can also respect someone who doesn’t care much about science, either because they aren’t interested or because they don’t understand it.

        If someone doesn’t care about science and adopts a YEC position (which is primarily a theological position, not a scientific one), I think it’s – wait, let me find the exact quote from the post – imprudent and intellectually limiting, but I’m not going to force my love of science on anyone else. If anyone takes a theological position and decides to ignore science entirely, then it doesn’t matter whether that theological position is YEC or Buddhism or transcendental meditation.

        The problem comes in when someone pretends to engage in science, but only in order to reinforce their predetermined conclusion. There’s an important distinction here between “Creation Science” and YEC. They often go together, but they are not the same thing.

  3. I’ve often found it unfortunate that atheists I’ve spoken to believe that the YEC position, held by a minority of Christians, is by implication held to be what other Christians believe. Its understandable as this is their doctrine, but unfortunate.

    Do you find the atheistic religion (scientism + atheism), with the likes of Dawkins and company, lumping all Christians into the YEC and/or ID position?

    • Well, that depends on the context. In much the same way that the “creation scientists” cherry-pick their science, the more militant denominations of atheism tend to cherry-pick their strawmen. Thus any aspect of any religion (other than atheism, of course) becomes useful as a supposed position of all religious believers.

      So depending on the context and the line of argument, Christians are either YEC and ignorant of science, or else they’re crazy suicide bombers. Or they’re all pacifists. Or involved with the Inquisition.

      You know, whatever works for the argument at hand.

      • Would you please show me one clear example of militant atheism so I know what on earth you are talking about?

      • Militant atheism is a description of a strong anti-religious position. The term has been in use since the late 19th century.

        For a more recent definition, here’s atheist author Julian Baggini’s description (from Atheism: a Very Short Introduction, 2003):

        “Although … atheism is not necessarily hostile to religion, there are, of course some atheists who are hostile to religion, and not just fundamentalist religions… Atheism which is actively hostile to religion I would call militant. To be hostile in this sense requires more than just strong disagreement with religion – it requires something verging on hatred and is characterized by a desire to wipe out all forms of religious beliefs. Militant atheists tend to make one or both of two claims that atheists do not. The first is that religion is demonstrably false or nonsense, and the second is that it is usually or always harmful.”

        For a recent example of the type, we have Sam Harris (in The End of Faith), advocating killing religious believers because their beliefs are apparently too dangerous:

        “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.”

        Hopefully that clears things up for you.

  4. Excellent post. I think the main thing to remember is that YEC, as you said, starts with theology and works out from there. YEC generally should not be seen as proposing an alternative scientific hypothesis, but as a theological proposal. This is, in my opinion, why you often find the YEC position engaged in negative apologetics–that is, trying to disconfirm alternative evidence–because their own position is held theologically. Thus, YEC focuses only on offering possible explanations for the phenomena we observe. Unfortunately, in my mind, this can tend towards making God appear as a great deceiver, giving us false evidence for an old universe.

    • Yeah, I don’t buy the whole “testing our faith” argument which used to be popular in YEC circles. As I see it, God has given us reason and the ability to perceive our surroundings. Honest application of that reason to what we see should lead us to conclusions that are both theologically and rationally satisfying. (My own experience certainly indicates that this is so, anyway).

      Having to twist reason or pervert honest inquiry to make things fit doesn’t sit well with me as truth.

      • Since when was starting with all the answers into which you will then fit all appropriate evidence anything worth <i.respecting?

        Why not start with honest questions first and follow the evidence to wherever it leads… like no evidence for Adam, no evidence for special creationism, no evidence for a global flood, and so on? Why not admit straight up that these specific claims have zero evidence to support them and much evidence against them? Why is that so unthinkable for someone who supposedly is merely advancing a theological hypothesis to come quickly to the conclusion that these claims are not true?

      • It isn’t worth respecting. As I’ve said in the post and in the comments.

        Is there a point somewhere buried in here?

  5. Sentinel,

    I do think that theologically, we have to say a) that Adam was an actual historical person (the evolution of humans has little evidence to support it, as Darwin himself pointed out) b) that some sort of flood occurred at some point in human history (the anthropological evidence for this one is well-documented).

    However, I am not among those who think that the Bible necessarily demands a literal six-day creation interpretation starting on October 22, 4004 BC. I think that there are serious presuppositional questions associated with current evolutionary theory, but also with current YEC creation science. For these reasons, I have decided to remain agnostic on the age of the earth and let God be God.

    • Thanks for the comment. Thanks also for the important reminder that it’s ok to be agnostic on issues where we feel the evidence is unconvincing.

      Personally, I am encouraged that I can be confident in some areas and yet have doubts in others, whether the issues are scientific or theological (or indeed both). I am also grateful that the broader Church can accommodate a vigorous discussion on these issues.

  6. to BEDside LITerature:
    i understood Sentinel’s statement “I don’t entirely endorse the YEC position, but I can respect it” to mean that Sentinel found it internally coherent, but not what Sentinel himself believes. I don’t agree that it’s internally coherent, depending as it does upon (1) an ultra-literalist reading of Genesis (which has a second, conflicting account of Creation) in one particular English translation and (2) philosophical and deductive implications of that reading only when convenient. Nonetheless, Sentinel has a right to his opinion of it. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but no one has a right to his own facts.” It’s pointless to argue that Sentinel’s opinion is unjustified; opinions are not justified, only held. If they were justified, they’d be theorems. Sentinel has given you the privilege of stating your opinion and your reasons for holding it; you are empowered to argue that Sentinel’s reasons for holding his opinion are weak or self-contradictory, giving persuasive examples; but that’s where reasonable argumentation stops. It does not advance the discussion for you to employ personal derogations, as in “sniping at Dawkins as if he were a representative of just another kind of religious belief merely makes you look petulant.”

    • Hi Karl,

      Thanks for your comments. It seems I worded that line ambiguously, perhaps I should clarify:

      My statement of “I don’t entirely endorse the YEC position” was not suggesting that I found it internally coherent, but rather that I agree with a subset of the theological justifications, but not all of them.

      Specifically, I accept that the Bible is reliable and can be used authoratatively to guide both our lives and our understanding of the world around us. I do not accept that it is hermeneutically sound to use an ultra-literal reading of Gen 1 as translated in the KJV as a detailed technical description of the processes by which God formed the universe.

      I can accept the YEC position theologically (while disagreeing with it) because it is not an issue of primary doctrinal importance. I cannot accept “Creation Science” scientifically, because it follows a methodology which runs counter to an issue of primary importance in science.

  7. An excellent post, Sentinel.

    I often find it annoying when so many of the Militant Atheists seem to conflate the numbers of Creationists in order to make it seem like they are representative of Christians as a whole (while I am sure they would not tolerate the same of Christians conflating the numbers of Atheists who believe in Memetics to make it seem like they are representative of Atheists as a whole).

    But such is case when loose tempers and personal prejudices blind one’s higher senses (as tildeb unwittingly demonstrated).

  8. @tildeb

    Allow me to demonstrate:

    Statement 1:

    “sniping at Dawkins as if he were a representative of just another kind of religious belief merely makes you look petulant.”

    Where was the sniping? Where was the uncalled for cheap shot? Sentinel merely made a valid observation: that Dawkins is as guilty of misusing science to promote an ideology as the creationists are (given the fact that the Dawk has been called on this by everyone from Quentin Smith to David Sloan Wilson to Stephen Jay Gould, Sentinel has a point). Stamping your feet and saying “nuh-uh!” does not help your case.

    Statement 2:

    “This ambivalent accommodationism of respecting in whole what you agree with in part is intellectually dishonest.”

    You repeated this claim of “intellectual dishonesty” in the thread, despite the fact that Sentinel answered it on numerous occasions. In fact, it would seem like you are purposely trying to misinterpret or misread what he’s saying.

    • Thanks for the clarification, jj.

      Dawkins to the best of my knowledge – having read his books, watched his various TV series, and listened to him on many occasions being interviewed – has never, ever misrepresented science by – as Sentinel so easily and cavalierly states – starting his scientific investigation at the wrong end. The notion of Dawkins simply cherry-picking his science based on some other faith similar to Ken Ham’s YEC faith is beyond ludicrous: that claim is a gross and intentional and malicious misrepresentation of what is true. That I called such na ill-informed claim petulant sniping was a very kind and gentle rebuke rather than prejudiced. The prejudice unambiguously lies entirely on Sentinel’s part regarding Dawkins as well as yours if you honestly believe Dawkins misuses science to uphold a similar kind of Ham’s faith that denies science. The charge is intellectually dishonest.

      I am not misrepresenting Sentinel to call his position of pretending to value scientific honesty intellectually dishonest. Here’s why: he wants it both ways.

      On the one hand he states that YEC is totally opposed to honest scientific inquiry. I agree. Further, he states honest scientific inquiry is that you follow the evidence where it leads. Again, bang on. These reveal what Sentinel describes as honest inquiry through science.

      On the other hand, he doesn’t entirely endorse the YEC position, but he can respect it. On a measure of scientific honesty, he has already admitted YEC is totally opposed to it. There is nothing there to respect in terms of scientific honesty by his own admission. But somewhere in that total absence of scientific honesty in YEC, Sentinel finds much to agree with and respect:

      “[…] suffice it to say that the YEC position is that the Bible should be read with complete literalism, as it is the highest authority and impervious to dispute from science or philosophy.” (So much for ‘following the evidence’.) That’s fine. I don’t entirely endorse the YEC position, but I can respect it”

      No you can’t if you wish to respect honest scientific inquiry. There is nothing in YEC to respect in terms of the what the post is about: scientific honesty. YEC has none!

      That’s why I point out that respecting in whole what you agree with in part is intellectually dishonest when the post is all about respecting scientific honesty!

      To then shift over to smearing Dawkins without cause or proof of scientific cherry-picking to counter balance the merit-less scientific claims used by Ken Ham to support YEC is a shipwreck of intellectual integrity regarding scientific honesty.

      • This is hilarious.

        Your response seems to boil down to: “I’ve read a lot of Dawkins, and I haven’t seen the kind of behaviour that you’re talking about.”

        Ordinarily, this might be a credible statement. But I assume that you’ve also read the original post, as well as most of my comments. And yet you still seem to have no grasp on several of the key points. You continually confuse YEC with Creation Science, and deliberately conflate my statements about YEC with my statements about science, despite my repeated statements that YEC is not a scientific position, it’s a theological one. (Seriously, you don’t even have to read the whole post: the reference to “Creation Science” rather than YEC is right there in the title).

        If that’s the level of reading comprehension that you typically employ, I’m not surprised you can’t spot anything scientifically irresponsible in Dawkins’ numerous polemics.

  9. Oh you mean other than the promotion of the pseudo-science of Memetics?

    You mean other than essentially trying to turn the legacy of Charles Darwin (an Agnostic) into a bludgeoning stick to force people to choose either their religious convictions or his view of evolution (despite the fact that some of evolutionary biology’s greatest champions both then and now have been theists).

    You mean other than the fact that he took a piss on me and every other Agnostic and claimed that Agnosticism was no where near as tenable scientifically a position as Atheism? Yeah, I’m sure Huxley, Darwin, Sagan, and so many others were really a bunch of wimpy fence-sitters who weren’t as brilliant as you, Richard. I’m sure they would have just melted over “The Poverty of Agnosticism” chapter in “The God Delusion”.

    • What a load of rubbish.

      Dawkins has hypothesized memes. It is a legitimate hypothesis and is currently being studied. That’s not misuse, JJ, unless every hypothesis is a misuse of science. And that’s rubbish.

      The legacy of Darwin is evolutionary theory by natural selection. It was not complete when Darwin introduced it but the fundamental idea has solidified into the very basis of our understanding of biology. It works. It works consistently well. You trust it with your life. If by choice between how our origins are described by religious notions of special creationism versus evolution, I’m afraid that choice has already been decided by the facts, and the facts of our evolutionary origins are incontrovertible if you are a rational person. Brute facts do tend to of the bludgeoning kind. Stand against these facts at your intellectual peril but don’t claim their use to back up what is most likely true as some kind of scientific misuse. It’s not, and suggesting as much remains rubbish.

      Dawkins criticism of agnosticism is legitimate even if controversial. We can only speculate that if Huxley, Darwin himself, Sagan, and others knew then what we know today, they would agree with Hawking that no god is necessary to explain how we have evolved from the most primitive forms for which we have evidence of today. For goodness’ sake, we share a third of DNA with daffodils so if ‘special creationism’ were to remain viable, we would have to conclude that god made us to look exactly like we should if evolution were in play. If that’s the basis of your agnosticism then act the part and stop using such distrustful products like medicine derived from exactly this biology. But you don’t have the intellectual courage of your agnostic convictions, do you? You speak the words to be seen as a fence sitter but act in your own best interest when it comes to the technologies and products from that which you say you doubt. Dawkins pointing this out to the likes of you is not an misuse of science, unless every controversy and anything less than certainty is a similar misuse. But you know as well as I that that’s rubbish.

      It is religious belief that must change to fit the facts derived from our knowledge and no amount of demonizing Dawkins and no amount of faux fence-sitting is going to change that necessity. Get over it. Return to the land of the intellectually honest.

      • tildeb :

        Dawkins has hypothesized memes. It is a legitimate hypothesis and is currently being studied. That’s not misuse… unless every hypothesis is a misuse of science. And that’s rubbish.

        I’m curious – what do you understand by “hypothesis”?

        See, over here in “the land of the intellectually honest”, an hypothesis is based on something more than a poor analogy with no supporting evidence.

  10. “Stand against these facts at your intellectual peril but don’t claim their use to back up what is most likely true as some kind of scientific misuse. It’s not, and suggesting as much remains rubbish.”

    But that’s the point–he’s using a natural science to make metaphysical/philosophical claims. Furthermore, nothing in Evolutionary Biology at this moment in time makes a clear proof for or against the existence of gods or a single god. Therefore, to claim that it somehow does is to jump off the rails of good science and onto the rails of being an ideologue with an axe to grind.

    “Dawkins has hypothesized memes. It is a legitimate hypothesis and is currently being studied. That’s not misuse, JJ, unless every hypothesis is a misuse of science. And that’s rubbish.”

    Really? And Creationists hypothesize that an old man built a giant flipping boat to save animals from a killer flood, and that our ancestors hung out in a magical garden eating mystic fruit of doom and talking with demonic snakes. Dawkins hypothesis has no basis in science (or if it does it occupies the same space as Paranormal Psychology and Alchemy). It’s rambling nonsense used as a rhetorical tactic. This is no different that the nonsense spat out by the Creationists.

    “But you don’t have the intellectual courage of your agnostic convictions, do you? You speak the words to be seen as a fence sitter but act in your own best interest when it comes to the technologies and products from that which you say you doubt. Dawkins pointing this out to the likes of you is not an misuse of science.”

    By Schrodinger’s Aunt, what are you babbling about? How does this, in ANY way connect with anything I’ve said? How does answer the challenges to Dawkin’s claim that despite the fact that the science has said nothing on the subject, that Atheism is the only truly tenable position?

    “It is religious belief that must change to fit the facts derived from our knowledge….”

    I would say that is the same for all ideologies. The virulent brand of tosh that Dawkins peddles, especially.

    “Get over it. Return to the land of the intellectually honest.”

    I am in the land of the intellectually honest. It’s called “Agnosticism”. Where the hell are you?

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  12. In one of his earlier books Dawkins laid out what he claimed to be the evolution of the eye from a simple form to the highly complex form. The problem with his contention was that no evolutionist places the organisms in which the eyes are found in a direct line of evolutionary descent. Eyes, like flight, are believed to have arisen separately in different lines.

    As Young Earth Creationists themselves acknowledge, they work from their starting presupposition which is that the Bible is a revelation from God, although written by men in their language and style, which is true in the matters that it touches on. This is not wooden literalism as you seem to claim, but ultimately an attempt to understand the texts in the manner they would have been understood by their authors and work from there.

    They do attempt to understand the scientific evidence about the world in light of that revelation. A commonly used example is that of a candle found in a room about half burned. You may come in and through measurements of burn rates determine that the candle was lit about an hour before. If someone comes in and tells you that they lit that candle about five minutes ago then you will have to either reject their testimony, or modify your understanding of the candle’s life. Perhaps the candle was shorter than you thought initially, for example.

    Hence if a particular interpretation of scientific evidence suggests a conclusion contrary to what they see as a clear reading of scripture, they look for another interpretation. Perhaps, as in the case of radiometric dating, there was excess daughter material? Perhaps there has been loss or gain of elements due to leaching? Perhaps the decay rate is not constant? Now these “perhaps” are not a new thing (except the last) and they are invoked by secular scientists when radiometric samples disagree. It is not unfair therefore for YECs to invoke the same thing when they believe that the date attached to a sample is wrong.

    An interesting outcome of this is that the encouragement to question everything leads to some intriguing finds. C14 found in diamonds for example, and the excess helium found in zircons. One thing that was found in regards to isochron dating methods was that samples from the Grand Canyon gave a greater age for lava flows higher up the canyon wall, than for those at the base.

    Dr Russell Humphries’ white hole cosmonlogy, along with later revisions by Dr John Hartnett, seek to understand how we could see distant starlight even if the universe was created a few thousand years ago. Their methods might even be useful to secular scientists trying to solve the horizon problem with cosmic inflation models.

    Science, as a body of knowledge, as a discipline, and as something scientists do, has nothing to fear from Young Earth Creationism. As you wrote in your article on Galileo, the big threat comes from those advocating one position in “science” seeking to silence those who don’t agree with them.

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